Middle East & North Africa Regional Working Group

Alaa Murabit

Libya, MENA

Ms. Alaa Murabit was born and raised in Saskatchewan, Canada, but moved to Zawia, Libya, once completing high school at 15. At 22 she graduated from the College of Medicine and founded The Voice of Libyan Women (VLW) in 2011 in the midst of the Libyan Revolution. For her activities Murabit was listed by the Gaddafi regime as one of the “most wanted” women. Recently Ms. Murabit was named the “Trust Women Hero” by The New York Times, “One of 25 women under 25 to watch” by Newsweek, and is the 2013 recipient of the Marisa Bellisario International Humanitarian Award. Murabit is an Ashoka Fellow, the first in Libya and sits on the advisory board for the MENA Partnership Fund. Her programs have been replicated throughout the region.

The Voice of Libyan Women

The Voice of Libyan Women (VLW) was initially founded in August 2011 as a result of the February 17 Revolution which renewed not only our hope for equality in Libya, but also renewed the hope of the Libyan society as a whole in their basic human rights, including women’s rights. With a strong focus on conflict management, conflict resolution, peace building VLW emphasizes the necessity of womens inclusion and leadership in social, religious and political institutions to ensure sustainable democracy and security.
“The Voice of Libyan Women is proud to support founder and president Alaa Murabit who has recently joined “The Everywoman Coalition, “ a project of the International Commission on Violence against women and girls, which aims to address Violence against women and create a binding global norm. Murabit has said of her work, “It is only through the creation of a global body to address violence against women, which will examine the current disparities which exist in theory and implementation and ensure that women, regardless of national boundaries, culture or language, are heard and their concerns addressed. In order to empower societies and guarantee they have the understanding, confidence, skills and tools to create sustainable and necessary change in their own communities, we need the passion and commitment of people who understand the collective cost of leaving half of humanity behind. Together we must all strive for equality.”

The Voice of Libyan Women is in favor of a global binding norm on VAW and supports this project.

Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian

Jerusalem, MENA

Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian is a longtime anti-violence, native Palestinian feminist activist and scholar. She is the Lawrence D. Biele Chair in Law at the Faculty of Law-Institute of Criminology and the School of Social Work and Public Welfare at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian is also the director of the Gender Studies Program at Mada al-Carmel, the Arab Center for Applied Social Research in Haifa. Her research focuses on femicide and other forms of gendered violence, crimes of abuse of power in settler colonial contexts, surveillance, securitization and social control, and trauma and recovery in militarized and colonized zones. Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian’s most recent book is entitled: “Militarization and Violence Against Women in Conflict Zones in the Middle East: The Palestinian Case Study” published by Cambridge University Press, 2010. She plays a prominent role in the local Palestinian community. As a resident of the old city of Jerusalem, Shalhoub-Kevorkian engages in direct actions and critical dialogue to end the inscription of power over Palestinian children’s lives, spaces of death, and women’s birthing bodies and lives.

Huda Alawi

Yemen, MENA

Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Aden, I finished my master degree from Ain-Shams university/Cairo in 2000 and PhD in 2005. I have a number of Legal researches published in scientific magazines, as well as writing paperwork in law, and politics while participating in many local and international conferences concerned in defending women’s and human rights in Yemen and in countries like Germany, Tunisia, Bahrain, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Qatar, Dubai, Algeria and Egypt with – Max Planck- Institute of Germany, and the Dutch Institute of – Kate- Studies, and the Institute for Political and Strategic Studies in Qatar, the Human Rights Institute in Sweden, and other international organizations through international networks to advocate the application of CEDAW and opposition of violence against women in the Arab countries … a journalist and a writer, I have a collection of short stories, and finally five years ago became the director of the Women’s Research and Training center/University of Aden.

University of Aden – Women’s Research and Training Center

Women’s Research and Training Center was founded by the University of Aden in 1998. It aims to spread the culture of women’s rights and service society by changing its direction through: the preparation of research in various fields according to gender; the collection and monitoring of data relating to women and society; and the establishment of workshops and training sessions for capacity building and skills upgrading. The center also aims to develop academic programs especially Master of Women’s Studies and introduce concepts of gender into the curriculum. WRTC encourages the translation of foreign research, the creation of an integrated information system, working on connecting this system to the international information network and publishing a magazine specialized in women and development. It also creates partnerships with local and international organizations concerned with the women cases on all levels , as well as supporting the talented and creative females, and creating a human’s right network of alliances advocating and supporting the case, as well as creating and organizing a force of pressure and crowd. The center combats side to side with the feminist movement in order to guarantee political stabilization for women of 30% in the governor seats .

“Under the name of the WRTC It’s our pleasure in the women research and training center/university of Aden to express our honor in this cooperative work in order to achieve the required goals , it’s also an honor to support and be a part of this project for it’s importance in the Middle East now. We support the development of an international binding norm on VAW.”

Khedija Arfaoui

Tunisia, MENA

I founded an environmental NGO before joining women’s NGOs. I am a founding member of ATFD and AFTURD (Association des femmes Tunisienne pour la recherché et le development). I was Secretary general of AFTURD, then officer in charge of communication. I have been involved in both organizations for a number of years. I am also a member of Amnesty International, the Coalition Against the Death Penalty, ICAN (international). I have attended several Commissions on the Status of Women in New York.
I have given several conferences on women’s rights in the Maghreb (in the US, Turkey, Italy, Switzerland, Morocco…). Several of my conferences have been published. Most of the work done by the women’s organizations denounce violence against women and take action to make the government protect women’s rights to equality and to life protected from violence.

Association Tunisienne des Femmes Démocrates

Association Tunisienne des Femmes Démocrates (ATFD) is a women’s NGO founded in 1989. Its members are mostly university women belonging to several sectors of activity (they are lawyers, medical doctors, scholars…). They have from the very beginning been involved in struggling for equal rights and the end of discrimination against women. They formed alliances with women in the Maghreb region (particularly Morocco and Algeria) but also with women in Lebanon, Jordan, Europe. They had the support of some German foundations and embassies. They were the first in the country to found a counseling center and hotline for women victims of domestic violence. This hotline has never stopped working. ATFD is continuing the good work of helping women in urban and rural areas and their successes are many.

ATFD is in favor of a global binding norm on VAW.

Afaf Jabiri

Jordan, MENA

I am an activist researcher, who has contributed to a wide range of activities, programs, and advocacy campaigns in Jordan and across the Arab region. I was the Regional Director of Karama (Dignity) Network, the founder of Jordanian Women’s Union Aid Centre and Shelter for women’s survivors of violence. I have served as an advisor for several international organizations and UN agencies, including: UNFPA, Open Society Institute, Academy for Educational Development, ESCWA, and UN women. I led the last two women’s NGOs delegations to the CEDAW committee’s Constructive Dialogues with State of Jordan and several other Arab women’s NGOs delegations to the CSW/NYC. Additionally, I have been selected to participate in several UN missions to Libya, Syria, and Yemen.

Jinan Usta

Lebanon, MENA

Jinan Usta is a graduate of the American University of Beirut (AUB) and currently Associate Professor of clinical medicine at the American University of Beirut Medical Center, Family Medicine dept and president of the Lebanese Society of Family Medicine. Jinan worked as consultant for several UN, INGO’s and local NGO’s in the field of primary care, reproductive health and domestic violence against women, children and elders within national as well as vulnerable refugee population. Her main interest is to improve the health care response to domestic violence. Jinan has done several research studies in the area, published in peer reviewed journals, undertaken training and developed several training manuals for healthcare workers and front-line staff in Jordan and Lebanon. Jinan also has an interest in studying the effect of war and conflicts on domestic violence and is currently doing research on domestic violence in refugee communities. She authored a chapter in the book “Overcoming Domestic Violence: Creating a Dialogue Around Vulnerable Populations”

Ghada Mahmoud Hammam

Egypt, MENA

Ghada Hammam is a gender monitoring, evaluation and capacity building expert with more than 20 years’ experience in civil society development in Egypt. She currently serves as Country Program Manager for Diakonia, a Swedish donor agency, heading and managing Diakonia’s Country Program in Egypt based on their established guidelines, policies, strategy planning, budget. Ghada advises participating organizations on monitoring program planning, identification of core results indicators, and monitoring and evaluation. Ms. Hammam assists organizations to develop indicators, performance targets, and benchmarks as well as collect data to track progress against work plans. She has extensive experience in women issues in Arab countries, previously assisting Yemen social fund in mainstream gender equality concept in education strategy, and assisting in decreasing school violence in 15 Yemen governorates. Ghada has strong experience in women’s empowerment, gender issues and business entrepreneurs, good governance, democratic principles, and social accountability. She led and participated in a baseline survey conducted in seven Arab countries during 2012-2013. This research included measures for knowledge, laws, methodologies, and tools and linked these benchmarks by the opportunities and transition period in these seven countries. In 2004 she developed a gender case study in water and sanitation based on gender perspectives from Egypt. This case study published in five languages.

Hala Aldosari

Saudi Arabia, MENA

Hala Aldosari is a health researcher, writer and blogger on women’s rights and violence against women. Her area of expertise is in women’s rights and violence research in Saudi Arabia and the Eastern Mediterranean region. Hala’s work includes writing reports and articles and contributing to research on the region’s politics and women’s position.


Aminah is an online resource center to promote full citizenship of Saudi women and to support elimination of violence against women and girls in Saudi Arabia. Violence against women in all its forms is modifiable and can be prevented to save women and girls everywhere.

Aminah is in favor of a global treaty on VAW

Saida Kouzzi

Morocco, MENA

Saida Kouzzi is Founding Partner at MRA “Mobilising for Rights Associates”. For over 15 years, she has been working in collaboration with various NGOs, local development associations, and lawyers in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya, to promote the human and legal rights of women. At MRA, Saida collaborates in the design, development, implementation, and evaluation of our multi-purpose programs for women’s rights, including human and legal rights education at the grassroots level, legal support, monitoring and documentation of the judicial system, action research, strategic litigation, the national legislative reforms, and international advocacy. Saida has developed a large field of experience on violence against women, through her direct contact with women, her work of technical and legal support at the listening centers, as well as the publication of practical guides on strategies to support women victim of violence and legislative advocacy. Saida has acquired international experience in working with NGOs and lawyers in several countries, including India, Egypt, Jordan, Afghanistan, Malaysia, the United States, France, and elsewhere. She obtained her law degree from the Mohamed V University in Rabat.

Stephanie Willman Bordat

Morocco, MENA

At MRA Stephanie Willman Bordat collaborates in the development, implementation and evaluation of our multifaceted women’s rights programs, including grassroots level human and legal rights education, legal accompaniment, monitoring and documentation of the justice system, action research, strategic litigation, national law reform and international advocacy. Stephanie has previously lived and worked on violence against women and family law issues with women’s rights NGOs in France, Spain, England, the Netherlands, Pakistan, India, Egypt, Jordan, Yemen and Afghanistan. In the United States she worked as a sex worker outreach volunteer, sexual assault crisis counsellor, and appellate court law clerk. She was a Fulbright Fellow at the Mohammed V University Law School in Rabat, has both civil and common law degrees with honors from Columbia University and Paris I-Sorbonne law schools, and an undergraduate degree with honors in Sociology/Anthropology and Women’s Studies from Swarthmore College. She speaks English, French, the Moroccan dialect of Arabic, and Spanish.

MRA Mobilising for Rights Associates

MRA, Mobilising for Rights Associates, is an international non-profit women’s rights organization registered in France with operations based out of our Rabat office and currently working in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya.  MRA (“woman” in Arabic) collaborates with local women’s rights activists and associations to contribute to changes in laws, structures, relationships and cultural norms to promote women’s full enjoyment of their human rights. We engage with our partners at different levels, working for grassroots micro-level changes in behaviors and practices to support our activism for macro level reform initiatives.  Our multidimensional strategies are designed for various layers of sustainable progress for women. These include Grassroots level human rights education, Legal accompaniment, Monitoring and Documentation of the State response to women’s rights issues, Strategic Litigation, Action Research, National Law Reform and International Advocacy.

MRA Mobilising for Rights Associates is in favor of a Global Treaty on VAW

Hassan Khani Iurigh

Iran, MENA

Hassan Khani Iurigh received a degree in medicine (General Practitioner) in 2007, and is currently a hard working physician, health sciences researcher and human rights activist working in different universities and research centers. On Human Right Day 2013, Hassan received the Iranian National Human Rights Award in Tehran, with Iranian Foreign Minister Dr. Mohammad Javad Zarif and Faculty member Dr. Mohammad Javad Arasta. He has also received the National Award for new idea and designer, and scientific and executive management of the International Program for Culture Promotion of Human Rights Observance, from the Iranian Islamic Human Rights Commission in Tehran, Iran.

International Peace Foundation for Culture Promotion of Human Rights Observance

International Peace Foundation for Culture Promotion of Human Rights Observance identifies, codifies, and develops the culture of documentation and clearly presents the desirable functions and experiences of human rights observation. We explain the good and available opportunities given the developmental policies and programs in order to help to create a more desirable condition for presenting human rights services and activities by true activists and proponents of human rights. We explain human rights diplomacy in speech, thinking and action of true human right proponents in universities, research centers and governmental and non-governmental organizations in national and international levels.

International Peace Foundation for Culture Promotion of Human Rights Observance is in favor of a Global Treaty on VAW

Fadoua Bakhadda

Morocco, MENA

Fadoua Bakhadda in an MBA holder, working hard to promote sexual and reproductive health rights as human rights. Fadoua is deeply involved in research and knowledge sharing to improve women rights, especially in developing countries.

Asmaa Al Ameen


Asmaa Al Ameen is a Lawyer with a Master’s Degree in International Law. Asmaa has more than 10 years’ experience working with Kirkuk women, including widows, in various programs including peace building, women in conflict, building and managing shelters, and supporting widows. She has a depth of experience in practical and managerial programs supporting widows and is honoured to pass on what she has learned to other women and organizations facilitating widows to be accepted into and actively participate in society. Kirkuk, Iraq is very difficult location with little government support. With many thousands of widows and cases of sexual violence, diverse nationalities and the presence of ISIS, Kirkuk faces many kinds of political problems which directly affect women economically. Women are forced to work in prostitution often leading to conviction and prison – as they are very poor, and they can’t hire defense lawyers, their cases are not heard, and they remain in transitional custody. Asmaa advocates for legal support for widows, and general education and legal defense training for women so when faced with violence from society they may defend themselves and understand the legal system despite being without money to hire formal support. Asmaa is dedicated to this critical work, and very happy to be a part of the Global Working Group.

Nabila Hamza


Mrs. Hamza is a well-known and respected researcher in social and political science and is an expert on gender issues. She has published and contributed to a wide range of books and articles on public policies, social development, good governance, gender issues, poverty alleviation, and employment in the Arab region. She participated in the elaboration of the first Arab Human Development Report, and is the President of the Foundation for the Future (FFF). Mrs. Hamza served as the Executive Director of the Center of Arab Women for Training and Research (CAWTAR), and held various prominent positions in the Public Sector in Tunisia working as a consultant for UNDP, UNFPA, the European Commission, and the Economic and Social Commission for Eastern Asia (ESCWA). She coordinated many regional programs, such as the Regional Program for “Combating violence against women” (AECI). She was nominated to be a member of the High National Commission in Charge of the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women and Member of the National Commission for equal opportunities in Tunisia. Mrs. Hamza has been a founding member of several women’s rights and development associations through which she acquired a wide knowledge of civil society organizations in the Arab countries.

Fatima Sadiqi


Fatima Sadiqi is Professor of Linguistics and Gender Studies (University of Fez, Morocco); her work focuses on women’s issues in modern North Africa, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean world. She is author and editor of numerous volumes and journal issues, including Women, Gender and Language (Brill 2013), Women’s Activism and the Public Sphere: Local/Global Linkages (Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies 2006), Women and Knowledge in the Mediterranean (Routledge 2013), Gender and Violence in the Middle East (2011, Routledge) Moroccan Feminist Discourses (Palgrave Macmillan 2014), and “Women’s Movements in the Post-“Arab Spring” North Africa. Currently Professor Sadiqi is a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center (2015-2016) and her upcoming book will focus on the rise of extremism and its impact on women’s Movements in the MENA region.